Autumn has been kind to me here in Europe. It’s been gently warming, pleasantly golden and quite dry. But sitting here in East Amsterdam now, I can tell that this is as far as that can be stretched. It’s getting cold, the rain is closing in, and my adventure has truly failed at being a chase of an endless summer.

But that’s alright by me; I have never been one to mind the cold. Besides, a cold, snow-filled winter is way more of a novelty for my Johannesburg soul than yet another hot and sunny summer. Already I enjoyed the South African summer followed by the UK summer… I am OK with a change of pace.

Amsterdam... Dyke driving
Amsterdam… Dyke driving

In keeping with overhead conditions, activities planned for today include 3 beer tastings at different sites and an art event in the evening… indoors, warm and new. Nice. I spent yesterday being toured around a couple of interesting sites by Carien… Living Dutch history!

We went to Zaanse Schans, a living historical village with windmills and houses and shops… incredibly scenic and all lovingly restored to how it would have looked in the 1600’s… quite amazing. The rain stayed away enough to get some great photos as well! Then we headed over a massive dyke to the ex-island community of Marken… also well preserved in its original look and feel from nearly 400 years ago.

Zaanse Windmill
One of the many Windmills at Zaanse Schans

The scope of time and history in Europe always catches me unawares… so not used to it. African history is truly vast, but we don’t expect to see houses and buildings from a few hundred years back. Our sense of history is almost… geological. Finding people living in 500 year-old houses in Europe still blows my mind!

To blow it even further, in the coming days and weeks I am reconnecting in the Netherlands with friends from all over: Berlin, South Korea, London and New Zealand. That’s pretty cool. Add to that already having seen the Pixies live and you could say I am rather enjoying Amsterdam!

Julian and I have been jamming and have almost certainly written a very cool song with some lyrics I wrote on one of my many train rides here. In short, Amsterdam is turning out to be everything I hoped. Now I just need to finalise my cold weather gear for the next leg that ends in Switzerland in the 2nd half of November!

Zaanse multiple windmills
Don Quixote woulda loved this place!